At a press conference today in Washington DC, researchers unveiled “First Light” images from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, a space telescope designed to study the sun.
“SDO is working beautifully,” reports project scientist Dean Pesnell of the Goddard Space Flight Center. “This is even better than we could have dreamed.”
Launched on February 11th from Cape Canaveral, the observatory has spent the past two months moving into a geosynchronous orbit and activating its instruments. As soon as SDO’s telescope doors opened, the spacecraft began beaming back scenes so beautiful and puzzlingly complex that even seasoned observers were stunned.